She was finally finding a little freedom in a world that kept her caged. Even her own body kept her in a cage of sorts with the silence she lived within. But here, in the freezing temperatures, in the thigh high snow which had piled up since the people had scurried to bed, she had never felt so alive and free. Her breath fogging before her, a white cloud which floated and dispersed, like the tales of dragons her father had told her when she was but a child.

               

                It was a magical moment, the visible breath, the sparkling crystals within the snow, and the tiny flakes that now started to fall around her. Her nose tingled, and her feet had become so numb she began to feel them. She did not want to move, yet if she did not she knew she may just die of the very thing she found so beautiful to look upon.

               

                The very stillness around her was disturbing a little, as this street was always full of people jostling around during the day, it was as if a wrongness permeated the air around her. This street was not supposed to be so quiet, or so light. The city’s worst characters had been seen in this area on more than one occasion, but it was her place of safety at the moment, and in that situation she could only take a deep breath and see the beauty where she could. Without it, she would be living in a world of darkness as well as silence, and she did not know if that would be the end of her optimism all together in the end.

               

                She tried so hard to hold on to the bright light in the deepest night, but could she continue this way? If she ended up with an elderly male who could be her grandfather, she could be grateful that he would likely be kindly. If there was a younger male who had agreed to marry her, then if he was anything like Artair she would be extremely lucky, however, if he was the opposite then she did not know how she was going to cope a lifelong commitment, before God. She would have to of course, but how…well that was going to be the test of both her faith in humanity, and her faith in God.

               

                Could anyone really be worse than her mother?

               

                She shuddered, but more from the thought of someone actually treating her worse than the woman she had run from, rather than the bone chilling cold that was freezing her to the core at that very moment.

               

                Taking a deep breath, she took a moment to feel the burn of the cold in her lungs before turning to return to the one place she could lay her head and feel a modicum of security in a strange and wondrous city, which held a dark side she was beginning to see poke through the surface, and it was eating away at her optimism in a way she never could have expected it to before.

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